Research & Practice Task Force

Supporting and sustaining generative connections between practice and research.

As part of the charge from the National Science Foundation, under the Advancing Informal STEM Learning program (DRL-1612739), CAISE explored opportunities for synergy among those who conduct and/or study informal STEM learning (ISE) and science communication and public engagement activities (SciComm).

About the Task Force

This task force was initially charged to design a set of activities for the 2019 NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Principal Investigator Meeting that will encourage exchange between ISE and SciComm researchers and practitioners. Through the meeting, they identified and summarized questions, challenges, and opportunities for strengthening connections. Taking from these findings, the group set out to create a toolkit of resources to support better connections across the ISE and SciComm research and practice communities. Through a series of monthly online meetings as well as an in-person convening in Arlington, VA (December 2019), the task force, joined by 11 other contributors, developed the Research and Practice Project Planner, designed to guide anyone starting out planning a new ISE or SciComm project. The Project Planner includes collections of resource pages to help you get oriented to the fields of ISE and SciComm, plan your program or collaboration, explore past and current projects, and see information about NSF AISL and other funding opportunities.

Task Force Leadership

  • Kevin Crowley, Professor, Learning Sciences and Policy, University of Pittsburgh, and co-Principal Investigator, CAISE
  • Jamie Bell, Project Director and Principal Investigator, CAISE
  • Bronwyn Bevan, former co-Principal Investigator, CAISE

Task Force Members

  1. Emily Therese Cloyd, Project Director, Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  2. Noah Weeth Feinstein, Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction and Community & Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  3. Mónica Ivelisse Feliú-Mójer, Director of Communications & Science Outreach, Ciencia Puerto Rico
  4. Sarah Garlick, Director of Science Policy and Outreach, Hubbard Brook Research Foundation
  5. Geoff Hunt, former Director, LabX, U.S. National Academies of Science
  6. Jameela Jafri, Project Director, Project Exploration
  7. Rabiah Mayas, Vice President of Education and Guest Experience, Museum of Science and Industry Chicago
  8. Susan Renoe, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research, Extension & Engagement, University of Missouri
  9. Heidi Schweingruber, Director of the Board on Science Education at the National Research Council (NRC), National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
  10. Sara K. Yeo, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of Utah​

Other Contributors

  1. Melissa Ballard, Senior Manager of Public Policy & Advocacy, Association of Science and Technology Centers
  2. Dionne Champion, Research Assistant Professor, University of Florida
  3. Vicki Coats, Research, Development, and Advancement Manager, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  4. Kirsten Ellenbogen, President and CEO, Great Lakes Science Center
  5. Janice McDonnell, Associate Professor, Rutgers University
  6. Rae Ostman, Associate Research Professor and Director of NISE Network, Arizona State University
  7. Karen Purcell, Project Leader for Celebrate Urban Birds project, Cornell University
  8. Wendy Smythe, Assistant Professor in American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota
  9. Krystal Villanosa, Postsoctoral Scholar, Spencer Foundation
  10. Darryl Williams, Senior Vice President of Science and Education, Franklin Institute


  1. Michelle Choi, Task Force Project Manager, CAISE
  2. Sasha Palmquist, Senior Manager of Community, CAISE
  3. Shannon Sullivan, Project Manager, CAISE
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This material is supported by National Science Foundation award DRL-2229061, with previous support under DRL-1612739, DRL-1842633, DRL-1212803, and DRL-0638981. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations contained within are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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